The Vancouver Canucks kept on coming. Wave after wave of shots and rebounds and a healthy dose of odd-man rushes. They nearly doubled up Buffalo in shots on goal, peppering Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson with 40 shots.
He made 37 saves against the endless wave of Vancouver pressure. Johnson made good saves. He made some big ones. He made the routine ones. But he needed one or two more to help the Sabres, who dropped a 4-2 decision to the Canucks in KeyBank Center Friday night.
It was the fourth start of the season for Johnson and the 31-year-old feels good about his game. He's liked his preparation and has felt ready to go. If only the games ended with as much of a positive note as they began.
"Right from the start, even the New Jersey game and the last game in Vegas, I felt good about my game and where it's at but at the end of the day it's about results and winning," Johnson said. "I haven't been getting the results I've wanted in the games. I just try to stay positive and move on to the next shot and just try to get the team in position to win hockey games. I feel good about my game but at the end of the day it's about winning and results. Again, it's not there tonight."
Johnson faced the heaviest barrage in the first two periods. He faced 17 shots in the first, allowing a goal from Markus Granlund at 11:56.
In the second he faced 20 shots. Vancouver converted on a short-handed rush then scored just over two minutes later to take the lead. The Canucks would add an empty-net goal to seal the win.
"I think any time you're leaving your goalie out to dry like that, you want to give him a push back," Sabres forward Justin Bailey said. "I think it's definitely frustrating when you're trying to make plays, make things happen but we're just not clicking. Our goalie stood on his head tonight."
So what went so wrong in front of Johnson?
He doesn't really know.
"For me, I don't try to worry about the Xs and Os and all that kind of stuff," Johnson said. "I try to keep it pretty simple. That's why I'm a goalie because I like the main focus of stopping pucks. It's nice and simple. Again, it just seemed like they were moving pucks and having good looks. Why that is, I don't really know but I just know they made some good plays and had some good looks and were getting the rebounds. I can't tell you why, but I'm sure the coaching staff will look at it."
Here's what Chad Johnson said after the game:
In his three games with the Sabres, Justin Bailey has played like he was shot out of a cannon.
The Williamsville native has put a premium on his first shift, and it's paid off with two goals in three games. Friday he scored his fourth in the NHL, but first in Buffalo, a minute into Friday's game.
"For me, I'm trying to build confidence," Bailey said. "I'm trying to make an impact every single shift. For me to get that one early and help the team have success in the first was something I wanted to do coming in.
"I think just going into the game I'm making sure that I'm starting fast, whether I score or not. I want to have a big hit or a good play, just to get the game going and get the guys going also on the bench."
Bailey was one of the last cuts from Sabres training camp and has been looking for an opportunity to stick in the NHL. He's been making a strong case.
"He's provided a spark, scoring in his first game in Anaheim and then has had a consistent, solid effort," Sabres coach Phil Housley said about Bailey. "His speed up there is very evident. You can see it. He's getting in the forecheck. He's provided a really good spark for us."
Here's what Justin Bailey said after the game:
Friday morning, Housley said the Sabres recalled defenseman Taylor Fedun for insurance.
They may be cashing in that policy in Boston on Saturday.
Nathan Beaulieu did not play in the third period Friday night, which could put Fedun in the lineup for his first NHL game of the season.
"Nate suffered an upper body injury. He's day-to-day right now," Housley said after the game, adding he did not know Beaulieu's status for Saturday.
Fedun was brought up as the Sabres injury list continued to grow. Defenseman Josh Gorges (lower body) is listed as day-to-day while blue liners Justin Falk (undisclosed) and Zach Bogosian (lower body) are both on injured reserve. The forwards have taken a hit as well, with Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) day-to-day, Jacob Josefson placed on the disabled list with a lower body injury, and Evan Rodrigues still on the injured reserve with a wrist injury.
Fedun, who is an alternate captain for the Amerks, has one assist in three games as Rochester has started the season, 2-1.
"It's a completely different team with the energy in the locker room and, I think, with the way guys are getting along," said Fedun, who had 23 points in 29 games for Rochester last year.
"For me, it's the style that we're trying to play here. It's something that should be good for my game with the style that I try to play, in terms of trying to get back to pucks and move them up and jump into spots offensively. I think that's something where it's still early in the season, but it's something I hope will be a good fit for me."